Publication of the RHWG Position paper „WENRA considerations with respect to new fuels development challenges“

Under EU Taxonomy Regulation, the Complementary Delegated Act includes a series of Technical Screening Criteria (TSC) against which nuclear projects can be assessed to identify whether they are taxonomy-aligned. One of the TSC relates to the use of so-called Accident-Tolerant Fuels (ATF) from 2025, with the condition that the technology must be certified and approved by the national safety regulator.

WENRA notes that these TSC do not provide a definition of ATF and do not clarify whether any existing fuel could be considered as ATF. At its November 2023 meeting, the WENRA plenary discussed the challenges associated with developing new fuels to be licensed for use in nuclear power plant. RHWG members provided an overview of their national practical experience and feedback for licensing of new fuel. A summary of the feedback can be found in the document below.

The purpose of this document is neither to define the requirements of ATF, nor to discuss whether any existing fuel is considered ATF. The objective of the document is to summarize experience on the licensing of new fuels in WENRA countries. WENRA is unequivocal in its support for the use of safer fuels and the benefits that they provide. However, it is clear that the development, testing and national approval of a new fuel (with significantly different features than a fuel already licenced in the same country and on the same reactor type) could not be achieved quickly.

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